Special sensory equipment and light-up floor tiles are all on the shopping list for Sandwell school following a donation from the region’s famous Richardson family business.
The Meadows School, in Dudley Road East, Oldbury, will also be able to invest in musical equipment for its Forest School as well as new kit for its sensory room and internal corridor signing especially designed for children with limited vision.
With more than 170 pupils, The Meadows is Sandwell’s only special school catering for secondary age youngsters, aged from nine to 19.
Head teacher Rupe Virk said:
“We are absolutely delighted and so grateful for the generosity of the donation. It will allow us to buy equipment that was on our ‘wish list’ but we couldn’t afford because of our other priorities.
“Our children have a variety of complex needs; some of the sensory toys we are buying help calm children with autism, while the floor tiles and touch-signs around the corridors will help those with limited or no vision to be able to navigate their way round independently.”
Ms Virk added: “It’s been like Christmas. The student council has been involved in deciding on what we will buy and I’m not sure who is more excited – the children or the staff. It’s going to make such a difference for the school.”
The donation has come from the Richardson Brothers Foundation, the charitable arm of the Oldbury-based family business that has grown to become one of the UK’s leading property developers and a multinational operation with investments around the world.
Founded by Roy Richardson and his late twin brother Don, the business is now run by Roy’s three sons Martyn, Lee and Carl.
Jackie Simpson, from the Foundation, explained that The Meadows had a special place in the hearts of the Richardson family: “The family business was originally based over the road from The Meadows’ site and Don Richardson was very heavily involved in the school in its early days, sitting on the school board.”
The school opened in September 2003. Don passed away just four years later, in 2007.
“When a letter from the school came across our desk, seeking funding, we contacted Rupe Virk and arranged to visit The Meadows to see what we could do. It was a real eye-opener and we were hugely impressed by the school, the staff and the children. It really is the most wonderful place.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to support its work.”
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